Are you getting your message across?

 

If you don’t take control of your brand image, who will? Josh Graff, Senior Director at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, shares his top tips to consider when developing your own effective social media strategy.

Josh GraffYou’ve all seen the ice bucket challenge. Some of you have probably even taken part. It’s captured the imagination of a global audience, attracted huge levels of funding for the charities its participants support – and made anyone with an interest in marketing sit up and take notice.

The charity sector has proved extremely effective in spreading its message, and it’s no one-off. Earlier this year Cancer Research UK received donations totalling more than £8m in just six days following the ‘no make-up selfie’ trend. And the mechanism at the heart of these campaigns? Social media.

This level of viral response is perhaps not common in the corporate arena, but its power and potential simply cannot be ignored. That’s why these charitable examples provide real food for thought when developing your successful social media campaign. Businesses are responding to the popularity of social media, applying it in increasingly smart and exciting ways to share news and views, generate a dialogue with customers and suppliers, attract talented personnel and promote their brand as forward-thinking and ‘switched on’.

But are we using it to its best advantage? Josh Graff, Senior Director at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, EMEA, gives us his views on just how well the social media message is getting across, and what your business can do to improve its impact.

Are our mid-sized businesses social media savvy?

We recently announced the findings of research1 which revealed that medium-large businesses in Europe are increasingly adopting social media, and attributing more of their success to it. The research, conducted in the UK, France and the Netherlands, found that 77% of these companies use social media for business, and 52% of the fastest-growing businesses reported growth as a direct result of social engagement.

How are brands innovating through LinkedIn

Many brands are breaking new ground when it comes to engaging audiences – and that encourages others to up their game. Some are combining a range of products from Sponsored Updates (branded content in member newsfeeds) to LinkedIn’s application program interfaces (APIs), which enable seamless integrations for content and allows brands to create a more personalised experience for their customers.

For example, Hubspot used LinkedIn to deliver relevant content such as eBooks, webinars and how-to guides through Sponsored Updates, expanding its reach across all members that fitted its target audience profile – and ensuring visibility across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

What are the main barriers to social media success?

The most popular topic amongst brands, when it comes to social media, is content marketing – branded content that looks at home within a social or digital environment, for example, the Sponsored Updates mentioned above. For many companies it seems like a challenge to produce and manage a consistent stream of high-quality content with limited resources. However, brands often have more content than they think.

Many companies have a rich source of research and thought leadership at hand which can be repurposed for content marketing. We regularly work with brands to help them catalogue and organise their content and make it work hard for them as part of their content marketing efforts.

What are the risks?

Social media isn’t the future for brands; it’s the here and now. It should be a well established part of your marketing mix. Companies that don’t actively take control of their identity on social media will find it defined for them by customers and competitors to the point where they lose control of their brand.

What does the future hold?

LinkedIn offers organisations the ability to leverage the power of professional social media to address three challenges that most organisations face: how to hire, market and sell. We’ve begun to see more organisations using talent, marketing and sales solutions together, delivering a bigger impact on their organisations as a result. This is something we expect to see more of; increased integration is the future.

LinkedIn's top 5 tips for social media success

  • 1. Be authentic. Knowledge is power, and social media has reversed the balance of power when it comes to companies and their stakeholders. Potential customers, job candidates and partners can now tell very easily if what you say publicly is consistent with how you operate internally, and you will get called out if your social presence doesn't ring true.
  • 2. Be visible. There are plenty of ways for potential customers to find you online but easy navigation is an advantage. Connect your website and social media channels and give your brand more opportunities to be found by the right people.
  • 3. Engage your team. Flex your company’s collective network by getting your employees involved in social media activity – on a Company Page on LinkedIn for example. This will increase your visibility and help establish a culture where employees are engaged with the brand and contributing to a single mission.
  • 4. Leverage existing content. Use successful posts on other social properties to create a high quality stream of content on your corporate and personal profiles.
  • 5. Demonstrate value to followers. Your strategy should be built around providing value through a constant stream of rich, insightful content. This will build engagement and trusted relationships.

Footnotes

1. Priming the Economic Engine: How social drives business growth and business decisions. See http://emea.marketing.linkedin.com/blog/how-social-drives-business-growth-and-business-decisions/

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